I need some time to ease my mind February 6, 2010Posted by David Gillespie in Uncategorized.
Tags: Fred Wilson, Google, Microsoft, startups, yahoo
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When I was writing Digital Strangelove, it was born largely out of work being so busy that I didn’t have time to write semi-daily about the things I was thinking, and I’m starting to feel like I’m all clogged up again in my head – a week where one of your days runs over the course of 18 hours will do that to you.
Anyway, enough of my complaining, I’ve wanted to write this for a couple weeks, and I’m excited to now as I feel really strongly about it. Your friend and mine Fred Wilson was interviewed in January and one of the questions asked was “What common mistakes do start-ups make?” He responds with this:
One mistake see people make is that they hire out the development of the technology…I think that’s a huge mistake. I think the companies need to have the engineers as part of the core founding team…and a company needs to own its engineering and product in a way that you could never own it if you hire somebody else to build it.
I’m a big believer in a business being free to focus on its core product(s). If it ain’t what you do, then it ain’t what you do! Far too many times I’ve seen companies get distracted by an interesting piece of technology or an idea outside their scope or ability to act on. When that happens, your core product suffers, and your competitors who may have been running a distant second seem to close the gap over night.
At the time I was thinking about the future of a start-up I was working in at the time, Hippo Jobs. Hippo had made a range of decisions ranging from ones I agreed with to ones I didn’t agree with at all, but that is going to be the case in any workplace where you are an employee and not an owner, and I don’t pretend for a moment to fully comprehend the situations that lead to some of those decisions.
What I believed then and believe now however is exactly what Fred said; a company needs to be in control of its lifeblood and make everything else someone else’s problem. When Yahoo! finally outsourced its search to Microsoft, it acknowledged what everyone else had long known – they were not a search company. Mind you, neither is Microsoft, which is why I can’t see them taking that battle to Google in a meaningful way.
Hippo had chosen to work with Areeba, an innovative and talented dev shop in Melbourne, Australia. The issue was never the quality of the work, it was a team that cared about the product in a way that was more than a job. Where Fred says “a company needs to own its engineering and product in a way that you could never own it if you hire somebody else to build it“, listen to it. He also says the key engineer(s) need to be founding members of the company, which again I agree with.
At the end of the day, ideas are a dime a dozen, and you need the people who can execute to have as much skin in the game as you have; anything less is a recipe for disaster.
See video below, quote begins at 4:48.
Is it me you’re looking for? July 17, 2008Posted by David Gillespie in industry news, web 2.0.
Tags: Blaine Cook, Twitter, yahoo
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Clearly it hasn’t been as long for everyone.
As Twitter‘s Chief Architect, Blaine Cook caught the brunt of the Twitter community’s frustrations over the micro-blogging service’s frequent downtime. He left the company earlier this year and has now joined Yahoo! to work on a service called FireEagle, apparently similar to Twitter but focussed on user-location.
Twitter’s issue was a popular service which struggled to scale. Yahoo! already has scale, but struggles with services that offer value. Perhaps this is a perfect fit?
(By the by, if you’re on Twitter, so am I)
Rumours abound; Facebook and MS and Yahoo! Oh my! May 20, 2008Posted by David Gillespie in industry news, web 2.0.
Tags: Beacon, Facebook, Microsoft, Robert Scoble, yahoo
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No sooner am I cracking jokes about not following Scoble than I clock an interesting breakdown of rumours swirling regarding Microsoft taking search off of Yahoo!’s hands and buying Facebook at the same time for somewhere between $15 & $20 billion. Robert is running around saying the sky will fall if this happens, I say you’ll see first an uproar and then an exodus from Facebook, the kind of thing that will make the hassles with the news feed and Beacon look like the good ol’ days.
I’ll be leading the charge.
*Update* David J Hinson hit me up on Twitter suggesting I may be over-reacting a touch. Me? Noooooo…*ahem* I seriously value the ability of the web to keep moving towards a completely open future, and my instinct says a deal between MS and Facebook would not take is closer. I have nothing against Microsoft (hi to Tom and Adam at Redmond, we miss you guys), but as Andy Grove once said, only the paranoid survive.
Web 2.0 – The City January 15, 2008Posted by David Gillespie in web 2.0.
Tags: del.icio.us, digg, flickr, Google, last.fm, poster, target, yahoo
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Maki’s blog Dosh Dosh may just be my find of the week!